…unless Muddy Stilettos are your lifestyle.
Personally Owl prefers bloody talons.
Devon locations in race to be voted ‘best place to live’
Ten desirable Devon locations have been named among the UK’s top 250 places to live. Now you have the chance to vote for your local area to see it crowned Devon’s best place to live – and the UK’s hottest postcode outside London.
Caroline Abbott www.devonlive.com
Lifestyle website Muddy Stilettos has curated the top places to live in each county in 2023. When readers have voted for Devon’s best place to live, the winner will go through to the national finals.
Muddy Stilettos says Devon has “over 200 miles of South West coast path, national parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor and more beaches than you can shake an ice-lolly stick at. Plus two vibrant hubs: the cathedral and university city of Exeter and the Ocean City of Plymouth.”
Here are the 10 places in the running to be named Devon’s – and the country’s – best place to live in 2023. Let us know which you will be voting for and why in the comments – or tell us if there’s a place you think should have been on the shortlist but has missed out. You can vote for the place you think deserves to win here and you’ll be in with a chance to win £500 to spend at John Lewis.
Muddy Stilettos loves Sidmouth’s “seaside location, its unspoilt open spaces and buzzing town centre, plus a very desirable range of period housing.”
It describes Sidmouth as “a Mecca for tourists and the well-heeled retired” but says it’s “far from sleepy.” It “isn’t short” of coffee shops and there’s a still-thriving independent department store, Fields. The town also has “every kind of dance, drama and sporting activity for children.”
Muddy Stilettos says Exmouth is famous for its golden sands and proximity to Exeter while celebrity chef Michael Caines is “really putting it on the map” with Lympstone Manor and Mickey’s Beach Bar.
The town has “much for outdoorsy types” especially watersports, and “increasingly swanky hospitality” as well as good chippy Krispies and Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish which has “fabulous sea views.” The website recommends boutiques Caramel and Shop Dead Gorgeous.
Muddy Stilettos says Okehampton is a town “very much on the up” and it “may be rural but it just got a whole lot better connected thanks to the return of The Dartmoor Line.” The website says it has “everything you could want in terms of rural idyll making it a thoroughly wholesome place to raise a family.”
It has a “vibrant” town centre and Muddy Stilettos loves Image Coffee Lounge where “the atmos is buzzing and the baking hard to beat.” Its main claim to fame is the ruinous English Heritage castle.
Muddy Stilettos says Ashburton is “perfect for anyone who needs all the perks of living in a town but wants to be able to make a fast getaway.” It has two cities just half an hour away and has “brilliant shops, community and a buzzing community.”
The community are “rightly proud of their town’s creative independent spirit” and the foodie scene is “bustling and getting ever more so.” Creamo’s is unmissable for ice cream in unique flavours. In terms of shops, you’re “spoilt for indie choice.”
Tiverton is described as the place for you if you’re a townie at heart as it has “oodles of indie shops but you’re just five minutes from bucolic rolling fields, half an hour from the sandy beach at Exmouth and 45 minutes from the stunning North Devon coast.”
Muddy Stilettos says there’s “loads to like” in Tivvy including a “romantic castle” and “good transport links and one of Devon’s best independent schools.” Sarah’s Kitchen is recommended for cakes and “the best” smoked cheese and bacon scones, while Duck’s Ditty Bar on the canal is a good place for a drink in the sunshine.
Muddy Stilettos describes Totnes as “VERY on-trend” as it was “into sustainable living and eco-chic well before the rest of the UK.” It’s your place “if you want the countryside idyll but more than just cows and antiques shops.”
The website says: “It’s seven-day-a-week hustle and bustle with vegan coffee shops, cool indie retailers and talented local producers – vibrant, ethical and alive. Everything a historic market town should be and more.” It’s “foodie heaven” and the weekly market’s street food is “worth a trip alone.” When it comes to shops, there’s “ soooo much to choose from and lots of ethical choice.”
Muddy Stilettos recommends you do not miss Totnes Cinema which is “small and adorably vintage.” It says Totnes “punches above its weight for bringing cool culture to town.”
Muddy Stilettos describes Topsham as “an oh-so pretty, bijou town” on the Exe estuary, less than five miles from Exeter. It’s ideal if you “want a waterside location but without the tourists and schlep to the shops.” Fore Street is “what every town wishes it had, replete with indie stores, boutiques, galleries, florists and groceries.”
It’s “buzzy by day and has plenty of nightlife (but not the noisy nightclub kind).” Denleys Essence of India is worth checking out as it has been crowned Asian Restaurant of The Year in the West Country two years on the run.
Muddy Stilettos says Tavistock “may not have a train station but it has everything else you could want in a town.” It has “plentiful amenities” including a swimming pool, cinema and supermarkets. It’s “old-fashioned but in a good way.” Its high street and pannier market are “vibrant and busy” and it “rocks a good cafe culture.” The most Instagrammed spot in town is Odds & Buds Florist.
Muddy Stilettos says: “If you crave a laid-back boaty lifestyle, you can’t beat this vibrant town” which is “less shishi (and less pricey) than nearby Salcombe.”
Kingsbridge is “known for a pretty impressive entrepreneurial crowd” and it has a “buzzing high street with an indie vibe.” Notable places to eat include The Old Warehouse while a spot on the upstairs deck of The Crabshell Inn is the place to go for waterside views.
St Leonard’s, Exeter
Muddy Stilettos says: “Leafy St Leonard’s is perfect for the city gal, just a 15-minute trot from Exeter centre with historic architecture, good shops and all the temptations of the cathedral city close by. But city perks come with city prices.”
It’s a “very upmarket” place where “coffee culture is strong” and the shopping parade is “going from strength to strength.”